Thursday, March 03, 2005
Bless me fatha, for I have not blogged. It's been one week since my last post.
Yeah, I'm still here, don't go frettin'. Feelin' run down after my DC Teenbeat trip, started playin' drums with some new friends, cramming for a March 13th show at TTs. Work's been a little nutty, the Nac's gotten a bit dusty, but I've been working on two more Teenbeat-related posts (and lotsa live mp3s) that should be up in the next couple days. Blog willin'.
Until then, a few semi-quick things...
Hey, Boston-types: David Rees (he of the brilliant Get Your War On and M.N.F.T.I.U.) will be speaking and signing at Harvard's Boylston Hall tomorrow afternoon, Friday the 4th, at
Further evidence that my friend Jo rules the school: Check out her newly-christened Friday Night Project, where she'll be trying to convert and post one random live/rare cassette in digital form each week. The first one is a doozy: Some old-style House of Love, recorded live in 1987 when they were still a five piece, with Andrea Heukamp on guitar and vocals. Very, very nice. Thanks, Jo.
Speaking of which, thanks to Chromewaves for directing me to cd-wow.com, where I just ordered up the new (import-only) House of Love disc for a mere 10 british pounds, shipping included. Cheapest I've seen it. Pretty satisfying to be able to write "new House of Love disc", and I hope it's worth the wait. Now, how about some North American tour dates?
So I caught a preview screening of Hostage, the supposed 'return-to-form' action vehicle for Mr. Bruce Willis. Since Die Hard is easily among my favorite straight-up-action films, I had a sliver of hope that this movie could be a solid diversion, if not necessarily an original one.
The swooping, animated cityscape of the opening title sequence had me thinking they'd swapped out the screening for a sneak of Sin City (don't I wish)... all blacks and whites, and blood red skies. It kinda looked liked a cutscene sequence from a Hostage video game, which would no doubt be more enjoyable than the film itself. Hell, I'd play it. (Ah ha... a little clicking reveals that the director of Hostage, Florent Emilio Siri, actually helmed two Splinter Cell games. There ya go.)
Based on a Robert Crais novel, Willis plays Jeff Talley, an L.A. hostage negotiator who takes a small-town police chief position after a negotiations falls apart. You know the drill, even if you haven't seen the trailer... the slo-mo tragedy of this opening is a simple set up for an eventual shot at redemption. It cruises through this obiligatory intro, straight into the "why did we have to move here?" family squabble (using his real-life daughter, Rumor, who has a small, whiny part, and the unfortunate combination of Bruce's huge oval head and Demi's small-ish facial features), and then the "we're in a small town and things are so simple" police station scene, but without any real emotion... there's no connection made to any of the supporting cast, which would have ratcheted up the drama later on. It all seems so painfully paint-by-numbers.
The score was so over-the-top, the sound mix so bombastic, and the story so overwrought, it would have been comical if it wasn't so damn deadly dull. It lacked the energy and pace of a Die Hard film, was entirely devoid of humor, relying far too much on Bruce's furrowed brow, and on Ben Foster's sulking, gothy character for menace. Six Feet Under fans know Foster well... here he pretty much plays a murderous riff on broody art-student Russell, but there's no real motivation revealed, just an offhand line about losing his parents or something. There's one unintentionally hilarious slow-motion shot of him framed by flames, and I swear he looks like the star of the next direct-to-video Crow film. The filmmakers also constantly and creepily milk the threat of underage sexual assault, with lots of shots of freaky Foster leering at his tied-up teenage hostage and her peek-a-boo thong.
And the violence... so much of it was unnecessary, all blood-spurting headshots, live burning bodies, and a particularly brutal knife to the mouth. I know, that just guaranteed some of you will go check this out. Hey, I'm game for a little gore, but this movie uses it so sloppily, and all too gratuitously. It even pulls the cheapest trick in the book (the villians are so evil they kill puppies!). With a better supporting cast, a tighter script, and sharper direction, these moments of shock could easily have come from situations instead of upside-your-head violence. The movie's premise actually provides a solid enough framework, but the screenwriter and director fail to fill it in. There's no rhythm, no build-up, and so no real pay-off.
I've heard good things about Robert Crais' novels, and I'm really curious to hear from fans of this book after they see the film... did Hollywood screw this up? Was it all down to the editing and directing choices, or was the source material this ham-fisted?
If you're in the mood for some big-screen action, skip this sucker and check out Ong-Bak. And if you're hankering for some classic Bruce, turn on your television. Somewhere, on some random cable channel, Die Hard is probably on.
My longtime appreciation for Vermont Senator Pat Leahy climbs yet another notch, as he sponsors a new Anti-Phishing-Scam bill. If you user the internet, and I'm, uh, guessing you do, this will impact you. Go, Senator, Go.
Athiests, agnostics, and others will find this both amusing and fairly frightening: My Little Golden Book About Zogg.
The second part of the exclusive fan-conducted interview with The Arcade Fire is up over at fan-forum Neighborhood #1. If you missed the first part, it's right here.
Now that I'm spending more time behind the drum kit again, I need some real earplugs. I've never really used any, and I'm gonna end up paying for it if I don't start soon, so I ordered up a pair of these. Relatively cheap, and promise to do the job. Hope their product is better than their unnecessarily flash-heavy website. I need to find something that saves my hearing but still allows me to feel what we're all playing. If that didn't sound too cheezy.
From earplugs to Headphones. Not the wearable kind, but the listenable kind... namely the new non-guitar trio of Pedro the Lion's David Bazan, Tim Walsh, and Frank Lenz. Electronics, vocals, and live drums, and you can stream their entire album over at Pure Volume. Doesn't come out until May, so that's quite an early preview.
My friend Rob sent me a link to his new Black & Blue Productions site, where you can check out a video for My First Days on Junk's 'From A Parked Car'. Head over, click on 'Reel', have a listen-and-look-see.
Just a few more weeks until that swell double/triple disc Yo La Tengo collection gets released. Billboard speaks with Ira Kaplan about it.
Nostalgic gamers delight: Liberated Games has dozens of free, legal downloads of old-school PC games. We're talkin' Hexen, Descent, Doom, Heretic, Rise of the Triad, lots more. I seriously need more free time.
The first Red Sox spring training game of the '05 season is on the tube tonight, and it's gonna be nice to kick back and soak that in, pretend it's not wintertime for an evening. Yesterday I shook the magic hand of former Sox pitcher Bill 'The Spaceman' Lee, and told him how much fun I had watching NESN's recent rebroadcasting of the '76 Red Sox vs. Reds World Series. He did, too, remarking that "It'd been years since I've seen myself pitch!". He's got a new book out, if you're a fan of the man.
By Monday, some live Teenbeat mp3 action. This I do solemnly swear. And if you've emailed me in the past couple weeks, hang in there... I'm hoping to clear out my inbox over the weekend, too...
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
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